Et Tu Brute

Conspiracy is a word that has become synonymous with the laughable and its very mention is greeted, in today’s world for the most part and by most people, with derision and loud guffaws. Defined in the dictionary as a “secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act” one wonders why it invites such hilarity. Let us be fair about this, every single day someone somewhere is up to no good with someone else and regardless of whether or not they commit an actual crime as a result of discussing the possibility of breaking the law of the land, they are guilty of the heinous crime of conspiracy and can be banged up indefinitely. The fact is you don’t have to do too much to fall foul of the conspiracy law and it doesn’t take much to actually break it. In fact, during the swinging sixties, there was a famous lawyer who was so successful at getting his clients off drug charges the only way the courts could gain convictions was to invoke the conspiracy law in order to cut him and his dodgy clients off at the pass.

It becomes a joke when it’s leveled at the system in respect of suspected illegal deeds involving a group of shady and powerful people that share a harmony of interests in business and commerce but not one of them in our interest. “Our” being “We the people”. The news media all roar with unbridled laughter at the mere suggestion that there may have been some kind of shenanigans by our respected leaders and captains of industry and are quick to use that hackneyed line, “Not another conspiracy theory” delivered with suitable mirth guaranteed to make an otherwise intelligent person feel foolish for even considering the suggestion. Although the proposition may have some merit “Plausible denial” is the order of the day for our fine upstanding leaders and rarely are they prepared to debate any of the issues that throw a stain of shame over their squeaky clean images. In the case of President Clinton, he shamelessly denied, “Having sexual relations with that woman” on the basis of his own personal definition of sex and when he admitted to smoking Marijuana he mitigated his illegal action with the absurd statement that he “Didn’t inhale”. I admit that it was hardly a big deal and could care less but is an obvious example of the abuse of power. When your President lies, most people are prepared to believe he was telling the truth. This is what we’re up against when dealing with men in high office. In the case of Clinton, high in office, but he didn’t inhale.

The recent Wall Street mugging of the whole world is a glaring example. Clearly, they, the various financial institutions, have conspired to defraud the general public in a deliberate and criminal fashion if one uses the systems argument that ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. To knowingly falsify the numbers and fraudulently lie to the tax payers in a harmonious clique is beyond the pale and an absolute criminal act, but lie they did, defraud they did, and commit a most heinous crime that has done enormous harm to hundreds of millions of people around the world. That’s what they did and the system has, quite literally, conspired to let them get away with it. Now that’s not funny. Conspiracy accusations have been leveled at many tumultuous events of recent and ancient history and not without good reason, so it would seem, so let’s examine a few of them, just for a laugh.

The ancient Romans knew how to have a good laugh, an example being the assassination of Julius Caesar. It was the result of a real conspiracy by a group of Roman senators in 44 BC, self styled the Liberatores, led by Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus, on the Ides of March (March 15) in the Theatre of Pompey. It’s fair to say that Caesar was a bit tyrannical and as such not too popular with the other toga clad senators who saw his continuing reign as a lost cause and decided to do something about it. A typical kind of conspiracy as conspiracies go, a standard power play and one of the most famous. “Et Tu Brute” spluttered Caesar, noticing his old mate hovering over him with a bloody dagger as he fell bloodied and riddled with stab wounds to the steps of the Theatre of Pompey, to which Brutus replied “you scratch my back I’ll stab yours”. A real conspirator’s conspiracy and set the bench mark for all that followed. No denying a conspiracy here then given that it all worked out for the conspirators who went on to form the Roman Empire. Had they been subject to rule of law, and even with good reason to rid the world of an absolute tyrant, I suspect the notion of a laughable conspiracy theory would have had it’s emergence on the steps of the Roman senate had the critics of the day dared to question the legality of what they did. It’s Sort of similar to the New World Order idea. From a Jack to a King, from a Republic to an Empire complete with Emperor. Isn’t that what America’s doing now? It even uses the old Roman motives in its model for the new Empire, which is of course the United Nations.

Keeping the theme of theatres as a venue for assassination, President Abraham Lincoln met his dramatic end in a very theatrical fashion indeed, as he watched Our American Cousin at the Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865. The frustrated Thespian John Wilkes Booth shot the President at close range in the back of the head with a small derringer pistol and then slashed his aid with a large dagger. Booth, having done the evil deed, made a suitably dramatic leap from the Presidential box, down to the stage, typical actor, breaking his leg in the process, having caught his spur in a drape on the way down. He cried out as he limped off, a Thespian ‘til the end, "Sic Semper Tyrannus”. For those of you that flunked Latin it translates as “thus always to tyrants". Bear in mind Booth was a luvvie and couldn’t resist this last line. However, Booth was not a lone gunman, as is the popular myth attached to many assassinations of famous figures. Few Americans, or anyone else for that matter, are aware of the fascinating story of the trial of eight before a military commission in Washington who turned out to be his co-conspirators. Exactly what they did in the setup is not clear but they all met a sticky end for killing off “honest Abe”. The eight were thought to have been the tip of the iceberg. How many influential people wanted Lincoln dead on that fateful day may never be known but one thing is for sure, he was not a popular guy. It did however give us that famous theatrical line often used by luvvies before stepping on the boards. “Break a leg” so it wasn’t a complete disaster on Booths part, from a thespians point of view that is. It turned out that a lot of people in high places wanted Lincoln dead and they weren’t joking. The idea that it was a conspiratorial assassination was buried and not allowed to see the light of day. History books rarely tell the truth. I guess you had to be there.

It’s interesting that when investigating assassinations it is almost always, according to the authorities, the work of a lone gunman, as in the case of Lincoln and the Kennedy brothers, or Martin Luther King or even John Lennon. John Kennedy was hit in both sides of his skull which is a pretty good bit of shooting for his lone gunman, Oswald. In the case of Bobby’s assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, he was not at all sure why he did it and claimed not to remember the day even though at the time of the shooting he was allegedly carrying newspaper articles concerning Bobby’s support for Israel. Just the sort of thing to carry around, in case you forget why you are going to kill someone. Very theatrical and pathetic at once. Lot’s of people were hit by Sirhans bullets in that small space and like Bobby’s brother the bullets, although, supposedly, all fired by Sirhan, on analysis, were from different angles, a piece of forensic evidence hotly denied. Well they would wouldn’t they. However, in 2007, analysis of an audio recording of the shooting made by freelance reporter Stanislaw Pruszynski appeared to indicate, according to forensic expert Philip van Praag, that thirteen shots were fired, even though Sirhan's gun held only eight rounds. Curioser and curioser.

John Lennon’s assassin, Mark Chapman may well have been working alone but he was a strange one and like Wilkes Booth could well have had a host of helpers. His shooting of Lennon had all the hallmarks of a professional hit, as is indicated by eyewitness accounts. Chapman, before firing, called out "Mr. Lennon" and dropped into a combat stance however, for some strange reason this is not stated in court hearings or the eyewitness interviews. Following the shooting Chapman dropped the gun, removed his hat and coat and sat down quietly to await arrest. The doorman of the Dakota building where Lennon lived noted that Chapman looked very serene as though he was disembodied. Chapman did say he didn’t remember calling out Lennon's name before he shot him but his whole approach was very much like a professional hit. It smacks of the Manchurian Candidate and very similar to the kind of operations the CIA undertook in their drug and mind control program MK Ultra but that’s all “Conspiracy theory” isn’t it? Only since the freedom of information act has the CIA’s MK Ultra program seen the light of day and beggars belief what those guys got up to. Certainly, Lennon was a fly in the ointment of the American political system and given the huge files that both the FBI and the CIA held on him, was considered a real problem for them. They couldn’t have someone as rich and influential as Lennon muddying their water and selling the idea of peace to their youth. The very idea…...

Even after an actual conspiracy has been exposed, it seems to get glossed over, as in the case of the “Gulf of Tonkin” incident that allegedly occurred on Aug. 4, 1964. It was claimed by President Johnson that on that day American warships had been attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. It was a complete fabrication but the lie could not be contained as the crew of the USS Maddox, actually involved in the assault, let on that it could not have been true and the whole world was to learn, albeit it too late, that the escalation of the war in Vietnam, which dragged on for eleven long years, was based on a lie. 50,000 young Americans and 5,000,000 Vietnamese had to die before it was over. In 2005, it was finally confirmed that Johnson had lied when an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded that USS Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that there may not have been any North Vietnamese Naval vessels present during the engagement of August 4. They were just kidding.

Still under Johnson, a terrible event occurred that must have been known by countless individuals in prominent positions but remained unknown to the general public until recently, some 43 years later. It was the attempted sinking of the USS Liberty in the Mediterranean by the Israeli Air force. On the 8th of June 1967, for two long hours, the Israeli’s pounded the unarmed supply ship USS Liberty in the hope that she would sink with no survivors and they could blame it on the Egyptians and con the Americans into going to war against Egypt on their behalf. The ship refused to sink and the Israeli’s had to give up there attack, later claiming that they didn’t know it was an American ship despite the flags and the radio messages etc. 34 sailors died that day. It was never made public knowledge and the surviving crew threatened by the government, under pain of death, to keep quiet about the whole affair, did what they were told. Now if that was not a conspiracy by President Johnson and the American government of the day, then what was it?

What hold the Israeli’s have over the American government one can only speculate but a hold they have and have never been openly criticized, in any way, for their murder of 34 American servicemen and the attempted murder of an entire naval compliment. It begs the question why and clearly indicates a huge conspiracy of silence by some very notable individuals charged with the security of the American people. Sounds frighteningly familiar and conspiratorial, as it relates to current events, but it’s still not funny.

One wonders what might have happened if they had the Internet back then, would they have got away with it? I doubt it. This Internet viral stuff is pretty powerful medicine. Modern conspirators may think they’re getting away with it but “many a true word is said in jest” and the last laugh may well be on them. “Information is King” at the end of the day and there will most certainly be a day of reckoning. It may take a year or two and it will come, unlike Johnson, before they die.

There are so many examples of high-level conspiracies none more than the blatant lie that led the western world into a war in the Middle East, looking for “weapons of mass destruction” and claiming that two arch rivals, Saddam and Osama, were co-conspirators in the destruction of the WTC on 9/11. An absurd accusation given they were ideologically opposed in every way and no evidence of their collusion was ever produced. All proof to the contrary was buried and they bombed and pillaged a virtually defenseless country. We all know it was a lie but still do not accept the idea of a conspiracy of high level politicians to bring it about. What else could one call it? When two or more gather together for an illegal act, it is a conspiracy. We all agree that the war on Iraq was illegal so why it is not considered a conspiracy is a mystery.

All the conspiracies that we now know occurred are too numerous to mention. Suffice to say that our entire history is a catalogue of one conspiracy after another and still we laugh at the very idea. How stupid are we?

~Sean Casey

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